Art Show

Student Art Exhibit: Reflection from Lauchlan Davis

Last week, the Study Center partnered with Eunoia Creative Community to host two back-to-back art shows featuring work by UVA students. At each of the receptions, student and painter Lauchlan Davis shared the impact that the practice of painting has had on her life, her walk with God, and her understanding of the world. Read her poetic reflection below. 

Lauchlan Speaks
Lauchlan Davis shares at the Study Center's reception on Friday, April 6. Photo by Ryan Jones.

I love to paint.

In this contemporary moment I am overwhelmed by a globalizing, abstracting, multiplying, diversifying, intensifying, accelerating, quarreling, and infinitely complex world, and I find that I am often silenced by my self-perceived smallness.

Painting is the language I speak when I am uncertain what to say.

To further and further master a medium of creative communication for storytelling or truth-seeking or simply a celebration of this wild and wonderful world is important because we are all made in the image of a creative God, who composed this universe that is the ultimate masterpiece. Our creativity celebrates his creativity. Amen.

The paintings I have exhibited feature landscapes from fragments of memory that evoke the experience of navigation and reflection. Last year, as I struggled for faith and purpose, I discovered wilderness to be my momentary cathedral as my feet led me to some invisible horizon communion along the thousand-mile root-tangled aisle with stained-glass sunlight winking through the clerestory of leaves. My creations celebrate his creation.

Yet creativity has cost and risk. Almost three years ago, I began making paintings, meticulously sculpting and layering oil pigments atop craft-store canvases. Honestly I had no idea what I was doing. And I was deeply insecure that everyone secretly thought my paintings were terrible, that no one was telling me that my art was a joke, and that my new hobby was actually embarrassing and weird. Yet, despite my fears, I kept painting. And slowly I became more comfortable with the medium, and slowly the pictures I made more closely resembled the images I intended.

Paintings from Alyssa Mazanec and Margaret O'Donnell
Artwork by Alyssa Mazanec and Margaret O'Donnell. Photo by Ryan Jones.

Now painting has become a huge piece of my personality. It’s an avenue for my heart to sing, for my soul to run marathons, for my mind to climb metaphorical mountains. In a month I am graduating college with the half-crazy plan to pursue painting full-time and wholeheartedly because I see the potential in seriously practicing this skill that brings me so much joy.

Three years ago, my first paintings were pretty awful. Yet I love them because they are humble and honest and they capture a fleeting moment of my existence. I’ve learned that we move towards mastery through the series of miniature failures. I truly want people to grant themselves permission to make imperfect art.

Please—Sing songs. Write poems. Fill sketchbooks and journals.
Cherish your voice and your imagination. Remain unashamed.

And let’s celebrate the brave ones in our community who have adventured down the perilous path to practice and share their art.

Lauchlan Davis, CLAS '18